The Kent Springs Center has also been referred to as the Richardson Cabin and also by some people as the Roosevelt House.  The house was built in 1903 by Ben Daniels, a member of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and a friend of Roosevelt’s.  Rumor has it that Roosevelt stayed there (hence the name “Roosevelt House”) but  there is no proof that he did.  The house was sold to the Richardson’s in the 1940’s and then purchased by the US Forest Service in 1970.  This purchase involved a land swap with 103 acres involved.  The purchase also included a provision that Mrs. Richardson could occupy the house for as long as she wished.  Mrs. Richardson died in 1987 and the place was left to deteriorate.

The Friends of Madera Canyon got the idea to fix up the house if they could collect enough money and come up with enough volunteers to do the work.  They were successful on both issues.  They received $45,000 in donations for the renovation project and the work started in February, 1995.  The building renovation also included electrical wiring, plumbing and a disposal area.  The renovations were completed in the fall of 1995.  Patsy Proctor had a dream of adding a deck to the house.  She drew up the plans and $15,500 was spent to complete it.  The interior furnishings (carpet, furniture, etc. ) were provided as gifts by the Proctors and the Holisters who run the Santa Rita Lodge.

There is a tree that goes through the house.  It was inspected during the renovation and since it was found to be healthy, it was allowed to remain.  The tree gets its water from the spring.  There is a bat house located in the tree.  After Mrs. Richardson died and before the renovation started, bats had moved into and occupied the house.  A Forest Service employee who was knowledgeable about bats made the bat house and mounted it in the tree in hopes of convincing the bats that it was a much better place to live.  The bats agreed and readily moved into their new home.

After the renovation was completed, the Holisters who operated the Santa Rita Lodge, also operated the Kent Springs Center as a concession.  It was available to rent for meetings, retreats, parties and other functions, etc.  In 2008 however, the Santa Rita Lodge was sold and the  new  owners informed the Forest service that they no longer wanted to handle the Kent Springs Center.  The Friends of Madera Canyon is looking at a possible plan to change the building into a visitor and nature center.

The ruins of an old cabin are located a few yards away from the Kent Springs Center along the foot trail leading toward the Boggs Springs Trail.  This cabin was the original cabin built and occupied by Ben Daniels before the current cabin was built.

Additional Material: GVHC Library File 36